City Council At-Large Group 2

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.City Council has five at-large seats that are elected citywide. Each of the city's 14 districts is also represented by a council member elected by voters in that district. Each candidates' party affiliation is listed on the ballot, but the city holds unitary elections, so Duval County registered voters of any party can vote for any candidate. 

Group 2 is an open seat as John Crescimbeni is leaving City Council after serving a total of 17 years. He is running for tax collector.

Candidates for Jacksonville City Council At Large Group 2

News4Jax asks each candidate for office a uniform set of questions hoping to get beyond campaign statements or media filters to help voters decide which candidate they will support. Below are the candidates' verbatim responses.

Darren MasonDarren Mason 

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 28

Candidate's family: I have been married to my beautiful bride, Sabrina Mason, a Jacksonville native, for 6 years and we are raising two very active children Darren Mason Jr. and Daliyah Mason.

Occupation: I am a small business owner proving Marketing and Branding Consultation Services.

Education: I graduated from Terry Parker High School and then went on to attend Tallahassee Community College where I focused on Communication and Political Science.

Political experience: My political experience began when I started to serve as a youth pastor and community organizer in high school which naturally parlayed into field organizer for the Obama presidential campaign and then a senior position in the US Congressional reelection campaign for Al Lawson. Working closely with these candidates provided me an opportunity to learn policy at the State and Federal level. I have had the distinction and pleasure to serve Council Women Joyce Morgan District 1, where we worked on local and city initiatives. Additionally I ran and was elected into a leadership role as the Vice Chair of the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee (DCDEC) serving with the DCDEC chair, Florida Senate Minority leader Audrey Gibson. My political experience has prepared me for legislative affairs at the Federal, State and local level and I am ready to get to work.

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

Public Safety is a top issue and will take a collaborative effort with a balanced approach to support a cost/benefit ratio of police presence and social programs for citizens that serve Jacksonville as a whole.
Jobs & Economy are another top focus, full time workers should be able to make a sustainable living that will provide for a decent quality of life for Jacksonville residents and a system that will keep our tax dollars in our local economy.
Finally we need to Invest in our youth and communities through partnerships developed with our Duval County school system through local colleges and businesses leveraging existing programs and underutilized government assets.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
I am able to bring my "on the job" experience that gave me an inside understanding of the Jacksonville City Council. My prior council experience coupled with my strong & lifelong community relationships offer the foundation to begin the work of the people immediately.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
I hope to be remembered for my commitment to ensure all citizens of Duval County regardless of where they live, work, worship or who they love, have a decent quality of life and that I was able to build a bridge between the community through a better government.

Campaign website: darren4jax.com
Social media: Facebook | Twitter

Ron SalemRon Salem

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 62

Candidate's family: wife of 37 years. 3 children and 4 grandchildren

Occupation: Pharmacist

Education: Doctor of Pharmacy

Political experience: I have never run for political office

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

1) Public safety
2) Economic development
3) Public Education

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
I have the time to devote to this office. In addition, I have been active in this comunity for 30 years in many different organiztions.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
1) Making Jacksonville a safer comunity 
2) Assisting in revitalization of some of our older neighborhoods
3) Expanding the city opiate program 
4) Assisting our Public School system to make it the best in America

Campaign website: www.ronsalem.com
Social media: Facebook

Early voting runs from March 4 through 17 at more than a dozen locations, with all Duval County precincts open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 19. Vote-by-mail ballots are available from the Supervisor of Elections Office and must be returned by 7 p.m. March 19.